Something’s not sitting well with me regarding the ‘intervention.’ No I’m not interested in evaluating the standing of Toradora! The show has become notable enough that bloggers and fans have laid out high expectations for it (including myself), that there are those who are interested in seeing the show fail if only to prove the hype-makers and the hype-buyers foolish. This post is not part of that conversation.
I’m here to comment on episode 23’s ‘intervention.’ I don’t like it. I don’t like how this group of friends – with their alliances as flimsy as they are at this point of the narrative, suddenly link minds like Grace O’Connor and the Macross Galaxy High Command and force a resolution to a teenage romance impasse.
Sure Kitamura cares about Ryuuji’s happiness. Sure Minorin cares deeply about Taiga’s happiness and perhaps Ryuuji’s integrity. Sure Ami needs to get some kicks to get a return on the sunk cost of her prolonged stay in this backwater school. But force mutual confessions in a classroom between two independent individuals? These kids are way over their heads.
Their real problems are their inability to make informed decisions about their futures. Ryuuji is emotional in that he doesn’t want his mother to make more sacrifices for his sake. Fool! Doing this for him is his mother’s ambition in life. He is so selfish that way! My own mother gave everything up to put three sons through school – and to stop her from doing so all of us can eke a life on subsistence incomes is patently ludicrous. I make good money now and I can afford to support my own mother and start my own family. Mama can’t be happier. Ryuuji isn’t seeing this yet, and that’s where his friends can make a difference.
Taiga too, has no ambition whatsoever. What can all of them expect? She has no parental figures she can learn from. If her friends want to do something for her, a conversation about the life she really wants is what’s called for.
Instead they chose to meddle in a love affair. All of them need a serious reality check.
Now that I’ve spoken about the motivation and logic relevant to their intervention, let’s look at the execution. Minorin, Kitamura, and Ami acted with a strong sense of urgency. WHAT’S THE FREAKING HURRY? Taiga and Ryuuji are neighbors and have given no indication of moving out (correct me if I’m wrong!). They’re teenagers! They have all the time in their lives to feel their way around their relationship. And even if they don’t end up together, it is no great tragedy – at least relative to the decisions they’re making about their independent futures.
The key here is their meddlesomeness, given the lack of real urgency. Consider this case: I have a friend, let’s call him FrostyGale and he’s into this girl Lychee who he can’t confess to because she’s his boss, and he’s sooooooo confused. Let’s say I along with his friends jailbaitfox, all-father, and Cronocifix kidnap Lychee and FrostyGale and force sparks to fly to set their love on fire.
What does this say about us as friends? Isn’t it apparent that we’re just tired of the emo and want a resolution either way? Are we really out for either party’s best interests? Do we have the right to intervene, even if Lychee was also our friend? How about some Gundam slapping action for all parties involved (except Lychee)?
The shift in focus from friendship to love affair resolution in Toradora! Is not a problem in itself for me. Rather, it’s the corrosion of the friendships, and the characters that foment it that bothers me about the show. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, this is not an evaluation of the quality of the show. People will use arguments like these anyway; and I wouldn’t intervene in anyone’s attempt to use them to justify their own positions.